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New cancer treatment offers hope for patients


Surgical oncologists Jan Franko, M.D., and Charles Goldman, M.D., of Mercy Surgical Affiliates are the first surgeons in Iowa and two of just a handful in the entire nation who are performing a leading-edge procedure called Hyperthermic Interperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) to treat patients with cancers of the abdominal cavity.

HIPEC is a novel approach to destroying cancer cells attacking the inner lining of a patient’s abdomen. After surgically removing as much cancer as possible from the abdominal cavity through an operation known as cytoreductive surgery, Drs. Franko and Goldman bathe the cavity with a heated, highly concentrated solution of chemotherapy drugs for up to two hours. The liquid has proven to be highly effective at eradicating even the tiniest cancer cells, which relieves cancer symptoms and significantly prolongs life (up to 10 years in patients with Stage IV cancers that were previously considered terminal).

Since Mercy began using the HIPEC procedure in May of 2009, five patients have had the surgery – which typically lasts between 14 and 16 hours – with excellent outcomes.

“Until fairly recently, we didn’t have an effective way of treating widespread peritoneal tumors,” said Dr. Goldman. “This procedure is indicated for a select group of cancer patients whose cancer meets the criteria and who are healthy enough to undergo the procedure.”

Surgical Affiliates is the only surgeon group in Iowa trained to use HIPEC and Mercy is one of just five hospitals in the country that performs the surgery on a consistent basis.

“Clinical studies have shown that cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC treatment has improved survival rates and quality of life for patients who otherwise have few treatment options,” said Dr. Franko. Abdominal cancer is often resistant or unresponsive to traditional treatment options. Moving forward, Drs. Goldman and Franko plan to follow the patients they have treated to validate the nationwide data and document the benefits and outcomes of the HIPEC procedure.

Contact Gregg Lagan
Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines

cell 515-490-6636

For more information about HIPEC, call Mercy Surgical Affiliates at (515) 247-3266.

Watch coverage of Mercy’s HIPEC Procedure on KCCI Channel 8 News.

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